Workers of defunct Nigeria Airways to smile

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From Fidelia Okafor,

Succour came the way of over 3000 workers of liquidated Nigeria Airways as the National Assembly last week approved the final payment of their N45 billion severance benefits.

The signing of the final approval was the last assignment the lawmakers carried out before they embarked on a two months recess.

The sudden approval may not be unconnected with the desire of the federal government to settle the former workers of the defunct carrier to pave the way for the seamless take off of the new national air, Nigeria Air on December 19, 2018.

Foremost Nigerian pilots and former Director of Flight Operations of the defunct Nigeria Airways, Capt. Dele Ore, reiterated at the weekend the need for the Federal Government to pay off workers of the airline for the new national carrier to succeed.

He said he was pained that government had been dilly-dallying with the payment while many of his colleagues have died in the struggle and others left wallowing in abject poverty.

The leadership of the National Assembly, Senator BukolaSaraki and Yakubu Dogara were said to have taken pity on the former workers who have been subjected to years of agony in the hands of the previous governments who failed to pay them their final entitlements fourteen years after the unpopular liquidation of the defunct Nigeria Airways.

According to information gathered, the ministry of finance officials have started holding crucial meeting to determine the payment procedure to be adopted.

The struggles for the payment of the former Airways workers commenced fourteen years ago after its liquidation during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

While the former workers of the defunct national carrier in Europe and America were almost immediately paid off by the Obasanjo government for fear of running foul of the labour laws of the foreign countries, the former workers in Nigeria and Africa particularly those in Anglophone African countries were left in the cold.

Since the struggle started, over two thousand of the former workers had suffered to death with many others left in miserable situation.

Respite however came their way when President Muhammadu Buhari through the minister of State for Aviation, HadiSirika promised to pay them.

Following the promise, the Federal Executive Council led by President Buhari towards the end of 2017 ordered the release of the N45 billion for their entitlement.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval marked the beginning of another struggle for the former workers as the officials at the ministry of finance and the National Assembly engaged in bulk passing as to the whereabouts of the file.

The former workers through the aviation unions had vowed to use their blood to frustrate the floating of another national carrier until they are paid their entitlements.

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